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MUMBAI/HANOI/ BANGKOK/DHAKA: Prices of rice exported from India fell this week on the rupee’s plunge to a record low, while strong interest from Middle Eastern markets boosted rates of the staple from Thailand. Top exporter India’s 5% broken parboiled variety

was quoted at $357 to $361 per tonne, down from last week’s $363-$367, as the rupee touched a record low versus the dollar.

“Falling rupee is helping exporters to lower prices. Demand is robust right now from all corners,” said an exporter at Kakinada, Andhra Pradesh. Vietnam’s 5% broken rice was offered at $415-$420 per tonne on Thursday, versus $420 a week ago.

“Trading activity is quiet on tight domestic supplies, but is expected to pick up from June with anticipated high demand from the Philippines, Africa, China and Bangladesh,” a Ho Chi Minh City-based trader said.

Vietnam’s rice exports are estimated at 6.0-6.2 million tonnes this year, compared with 6.24 million tonnes last year, according to the Vietnam Food Association. Thailand’s 5% broken rice rates rose to $450 per tonne from $432-$435 last week. “There continues to be demand from Iraq and Iran which are buying in bulk with their own ships, driving prices up,” a Bangkok-based rice trader said.

Also contributing to rising prices, supplies have begun to gradually decrease, another trader said, although a new batch of off-season crop was expected in June and July. Meanwhile, a drive by Bangladesh to procure a total of 1.8 million tonnes of rice and paddy from local farmers from the current harvest has received good response, a food ministry official said.

Bangladesh raised the price it pays to farmers for the current season’s rice to 40 taka ($0.46) a kilogram from 36 taka last year, in a bid to feed the poor and shore up domestic stocks.

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